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Cut The Page

cut-the-pageI was listening to the audio book The Greatest Show on Earth on my walk. Dawkins mentions the somewhat familiar fact that Darwin had a copy of Mendel’s theories in his library, but it’s pages remained uncut. If Darwin had read those pages, Dawkins speculates, the history of biology would have changed greatly.

The opposite theme is so much more common. What if some artist hadn’t met another in a cafe? What if he had been on that plane that crashed? What if I hadn’t gone that way on my walk? It’s almost refreshing to know that Darwin was a knife stroke and an idle afternoon away from great progress. The world missed a profound innovation that day he troubled over a letter to a cousin and napped.

I hear these things and see a torn up ad under a bush. I don’t have free time, but I’m in a period of far less structure and pressure, and a whole world of opportunity. I will miss the greatest opportunities, and the least. I just hope that I cut that damned page.

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The End of The Road. Runner.

I woke up in the middle of the night with this story in my head. This makes me think that my mind is just echoing something, like something I read in SPY magazine, or saw on Saturday Night Live at any rate, it’s stuck in my head, like a tv jingle or a march. Here it is:

Coyote finally realizes he’ll never catch Bird. He stops running entirely and subsists on boiled cactus and flies. Life feels simple, pleasing and he starts noticing the beauty and charm of everyday things he used to run by. This last about three days.

The Road Runner still runs past him every once in a while, slower, closer. He’s not taunting any more. It seems like he’s concerned, like the bird is afraid that Coyote is broken. Coyote felt broken one day.

One day Coyote realizes that the was certain of two things: That hunting Bird was his life and that hunting Bird was over. He decides it’s time to end his life. But how?

He jumps off of cliffs. He drops boulders on himself. He even puts his head in a cannon. This time, though, he survives with an even greater sense of urgency and defeat. He pursues an ending more than Bird. He stops sleeping to plan the next days attempt.

As he’s preparing to throw himself under a truck while wearing a backpack of explosives and nails, he feels someone watching him. He turns to see Bird. This is closer than he’s ever seen him. He’s never seen Bird’s eyes before. He’s never seen Bird stretch out his wings towards him. He’s never seen anyone reach towards him.

Coyote pauses for a moment, only a frame, before lunging. Bird’s neck snaps easily and suddenly. His legs are stringy from a life of running. Though his eyes were too salty, his heart is hot and tender.

The feast lasts all day and Coyote naps several times during it. He is comically bloated with a grin bigger than his face. At last he knows what victory feels like and tasted like. He feels fuller and fuller. The vomiting starts at sundown.

By the next sundown he knows he won’t make it to the cave, nor to the morning. A second, now unwelcomed, victory comes for him. The Bird was poison to him. He keeps thinking of the last beep he heard from it. It was as close to the word ‘No’ he ever heard from the Bird, but not a ‘no’ of fear, or defeat, but of concern.

Bird had known he was poison to Coyote and spent his life protecting Coyote from this death. He has wasted, and then destroyed, his life chasing the only thing that could kill him, and the only thing that ever cared for him. Coyote also realizes that he can’t lift his head from the road.

The rest were headlights and then a surrounding darkness, a familiar song and a final brilliant logo.

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Six Apart, Typepad, WordPress and me

window-over-buff-surfI wrote a little plugin for Six Apart to allow their service to be used by wordpress installs. It was announce at the Mid-Atlantic Wordcamp 2009 today and got to be a big deal right away.

It was a great opportunity to contribute to a couple great organizations. I look forward to more.

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New Twitter Bot For nshrine

please-note The day before yesterday I finally spent some time redoing nshrine’s twitter bot.

Just like before, all you need is to start a tweet with “@nshrine” and nshrine will light a candle for you and send you back a link to it. You can let other twitter users know when you light a candle for them, just tweet “@nshrine @artwells you are awesome!”. You’ll get a link an I’ll get a link.

There are more options, directing candles to specific open shrines and choosing colors. Take a look: http://nshrine.com/help/twittercandles.html.

I’m tempted to revisit wingmail’s bot, making it two way. There’re so many good ideas to follow.

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Seeing More

I had a very well-needed walk full of objects to contemplate. Many had immediate, sometimes laughably obvious, relevance to the matters on my mind. All of them had aspects that provoked rewarding contemplation.

First off I found this level. I’m getting further and further off balance, allowing myself to be shoved off balance too easily. Though this picture may not show it, this level is covered with either mortar, or very pale mud. Some of the bubbles are completely obscured. As I walked on, I thought about which level (in both the true-to-horizontal sense and the higher-or-lower sense) I might be not seeing, which bubble balance I need to clean.

I also found a fork. Though not actually in the road, it did make me think of points of decision and their influence on direction. I crossed the street on whim and immediately found a shard of security glass shaped like a heart. When the phrase “heart of glass” is used it is meant to indicate a vulnerability, but this was a heart shaped by the fragility of the glass around it and the accidents it met.

While still thinking about what remains after the accidents that might befall me, and the shape it’s left me in, I saw what looked to be a silver-plated spoon with a very ornate handle. The bowl of the spoon had black burn marks left from somebody’s fix. The addictions of wealth, the abuse of the beautiful, the lost way, all of these things kept my mind busy until I saw a very beautiful red door that had been nailed shut.

The one thing I didn’t get around to contemplating enough, and I still haven’t forced a meaning upon it, is a piece of bread I found with the center torn out, resting at the edge of an intersection downtown. I’m still working on this one. Let me know if you have any ideas.

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An Imperative Dao

A great deal is changing in my life. Each moment is one okay-have-I-got-everything Moving Day among the not-yet-packed priorities and principles. At least, I’d like to say “moment”, but I’m still clinging to everything but the moment lately. “Now” hasn’t been figuring into it much.

Only after a half an hour looking at trash and clouds do I finally let it all go. Triage involves being able to identify what arrives dead, and what offers hope with good work. This is the way I need to walk forward.